I worked as a textile teacher for over thirty years. Having taken early retirement, I wanted to continue working with fabrics or yarns. My first thought was, why don’t I buy a wool shop! The voice of reason, the husband, responded with “do you want to be tied to shop hours?”
Let’s think again....
Having a browse on Ebay, I spotted an old spinning wheel. I managed to buy it, renovate it and taught myself how to spin. I started with wool fleece, lovely for moisturising the hands, then spotted some alpacas down the lane on a village walk and having met the owner turned to alpaca spinning.
I buy alpaca fleece when I can from the local breeder, or on eBay from a selected number of alpaca owners.
I sort each fleece spread out on a sheet on the lawn to remove the neck or leg fur as I try to spin with the best part of the fleece, the blanket. This is the softest part of the fleece.
At this time I also pick out straw and other matter. I then bag up the fleece in large laundry bags to wash. Then onto the line with the laundry bags and finally spread out on the sheet again. I try to do this on lovely sunny days to make drying easier.
I have a drum-carder to card, or straighten the fibres, then I spin the carded fleece. By this time I have removed quite a lot of plant matter but there is always something left.
I prefer to spin outside and sit by my pond whenever possible watching the wildlife. I am a self taught spinner and sometimes I find I can get a bit carried away and over spin. This means that when I knit up the yarn I stick a spare needle through the ball and allow it to untwist a bit!
After spinning, I make a hank of yarn, then it needs washing again to set the twist. I then hang it on the washing line with a bag of stones tied to it to stretch it out. Once dry, I wind it into balls. I check weigh each ball so that I know that each one is 50g or slightly more.
I like to write my own patterns for my accessories and knit mostly small accessories such as gloves or hats.
As there are lots of different colours of alpacas I don’t dye any of the yarn.
I always have some knitting on the go.
If you like the look of any of my products but would like a different colour or size you can contact me at or follow me on Instagram at saraspinner2020